Skip to main content

Full text of "Verdict On India"

See other formats

30                              VERDICT ON lyniA
through the window. About a hundred little boys were squatting
on the floor, gazing at a blackboard on which a young man was
tracing letter* in. Canarese. They made the prettiest pictureŚ
the rows of dusky faces and the snow-white eyes turning from
right to leiU like marbles rolling on a dark cloth.
I drc^v bock my head from the window and strolled round the
corner of the building. And there, to my surprise, were twelve
littb boys, sitting on a bench, huddled together as though they
were frightened of something.
'What are those little boys doing? Are they in disgrace or
something ? *
The young Hindu guide answered me. 'They are of the
Scheduled Classes,' he said curtly.
I stared at the little boys, who had huddled themselves closer
together. They were thin and almost naked and none too clean,
but they swv* little boys, after all. Each of them was 'somebody's
bairn/ as one might say, if one were sentimental and Scotch.
Perhaps one should have kicked up a row about it. Those
kids were supposed to be allowed into the schools. They had
passed all sorts of laws for their protection in this State. But what
could one do ? If one reported the matter it would only get the
teacher into trouble, and it probably wasn't the teacher's fault.
He looked a decent sort of chap even though he was half starved
orx his 25 rupees a month. It was more likely due to the parents
of the children inside.
S;> I walked away and left the little outcasts to their f<ite,
straining their ears towards the window, listening to the teacher's
voice. Now and then one of them would scribble something in a
tattered notebook.
Young India, getting education.
SCENE THREE. A dinner table in Peshawar. Dramatis personae,
Pandit Malaviya and B-----, one of the leaders of the opposition
iu the legislative council. The year is 1903, and Peshawar is full
of bustle and excitement, for there is a great conference in full
swing, which will settle the fate of the Hindu-Sikh minorities.
The veixerable old Pandit is being entertained by B-----, ancS
they are both anxious to please each other.